Two-y-o killing leaves parents grieving and lonely
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
It's a tragedy in the true sense of the word. The brutal and senseless killing of two-year-old Jayheim Cooper of Lewis district in St Ann has left his parents, Calvin Cooper and Kerina Peart, in shock and anguish and an entire community in disbelief.
Last Thursday, a man who police described as being of unsound mind, but who residents claim had never previously exhibited such tendencies and was well known in the community, first slashed the throat of an elderly man, Logan Simpson, popularly known as 'Hugo'.
Hugo, who survived the attack, had his throat stitched at the St Ann's Bay Hospital and was later released. He told The Sunday Gleaner that it was when the car rushing him to hospital was stopped by residents and the toddler put on-board that he realised the attacker had committed a second offence.
One resident, Kavachi, while grieving for the child, affectionately called 'Jay', was similarly upset that the attacker was allowed to live.
"Mi sorry seh di councillor was there. If di councillor was not there ah nuh the baby alone who would a dead," he told The Sunday Gleaner as he stood metres from the garage in which Jay was killed. He and others had helped the child's father build the garage.
"A mi grow that likkle bwoy from him a likkle baby. One million ah we
out a bank grow the baby deh," he said, implying the typical Jamaican
tradition of a village growing a child.
"Wi feel mad right now
how the baby dead and him (the killer) nuh dead."
tragedy started to unfold around 5:30 p.m. last Thursday. According to
Hugo, he was hungry and went to the shop in the community square to buy
something to eat.
"The gentleman (accused) turned to
the bar and then come back out and then pass me going back into the
shop, so mi never expect (anything), but thank God fi Jesus mi turn
As he turned around he was attacked and
thrown to the ground and in an instant he felt the knife cutting his
"Then I fight, I fight, in the name of
He said he managed to escape. The attacker
then ran up the road.
Up at Jay's home, he was in the
yard playing in the garage as usual.
who was washing some dishes, had heard the commotion up the road but
wasn't aware of what had transpired.
She saw when the
accused entered the yard. That was nothing strange. A brother of the
accused has a house on the premises, close to the
The accused, who the police named as Devon
Jarrett, and who they say will be charged soon, had worked on a ship
before he was fired.
Back home he, along with his
brother, lived on premises across the road from that which is occupied
by the grieving family.
The land was later sold and he
was forced to move. His brother was allowed to relocate to the current
Jarrett lives elsewhere in the community but
frequents the premises where the killing took
"I've known him for many years," said Jay's
aunt, Stacy-Ann Cooper.
"Recently, he has grown his hair and his facial
hair but he has always been an okay individual. In the past he had gone
through some stuff, I don't know if that subsequently affected
But Patricia, another resident, believes Jarrett
has always been in a good mental state and actually does
"A yah him born and grow. Mi nuh see where
him mental, nothing at all deh suh."
when Hugo was attacked. She said some men sitting under an ackee tree
failed to respond quickly enough when the attack started. If they had,
she surmised, the attack on Jay would never have occurred because
Jarrett would have been caught then.
Patricia said she
watched as Jarrett ran up the hill, after injuring
Up the hill, in the yard, grandma paid the
accused no mind. After all, he is so close to the family, he is almost a
When he entered the yard, Jay was in the
garage. He approached the child from behind and slit his throat, then
"We didn't have any differences," Stacy-Ann said,
still bewildered at what took place.
The Sunday Gleaner caught up with the parents last
Friday, they had just left a doctor's office and were in no condition to
speak. Their beloved Jay was their only
Photos by Carl Gilchrist